Homa shoots 63 to win BMW Charity Pro-Am
May 18, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Max Homa's final-round 63 helped him grab his first Web.com Tour title. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
MORE: Winner's bag: Homa | Scores | THE 25 standings | Celebs at BMW
GREER, S.C. – Max Homa fired a bogey-free, 8-under 63 Sunday to win the BMW Charity Pro-Am and earn his first career title on the Web.com Tour. Homa started the final round at Thornblade Club two shots off the pace but charged into contention with an eagle and two birdies in his first four holes and went on to finish at 20-under 266, one better than Jonathan Randolph (63), who posted his 19-under total and was hoping for a possible playoff.
Blayne Barber (67), Jon Curran (66) and Kyle Reifers (66) all came close but wound up two shots back. Zach Sucher (65) was solo sixth in the Tour’s only event that pairs professionals with amateurs in a better-ball format over three different courses in the Upstate area.
The win for the 23-year-old native Californian was worth $117,000 and vaulted the 2013 NCAA Individual Champion from No. 64 to No. 9 on the money list.
“It’s surreal. It’s emotional,” said Homa. “I didn’t win a lot in college and to come out and do it quickly means a lot to me and gives me a lot of confidence for wherever I may wind up at the end of the year.”
Homa and celebrity partner Janet Jones-Gretzky wound up tied for ninth in the pro-am portion of the event. The pair finished at 35-under par but well behind the 44-under total put up by Canadian pro Adam Hadwin and hockey superstar, and Janet’s husband, Wayne Gretzky.
Homa was treading water through the first 45 holes of the tournament and was hovering near the middle of the pack Saturday when things turned around. The former Walker Cupper chalked up five birdies in six holes to flip things around and finish with a 70 at The Reserve at Lake Keowee which left him only two shots off the 54-hole lead.
“We just got off to a terrible start there. My caddie and I talked about things at the turn and we just said let’s do the best we’ve ever done to turn over-par into under-par,” he said. “We posted that 32 and I knew I was riding some momentum. It was nice to keep it going today.”
A total of 33 players started the final round within five shots of the lead so the winner would have to do something special to emerge from the pack and Homa did that with his quick start.
“This course fit my eye better than the others for some reason,” said Homa. “It was a huge start. It really set the tone because I didn’t have to play catch-up too much. It really calmed my nerves. I knew I had to keep my emotions in check.”
Homa settled in nicely and wound up hitting 17 greens in regulation but admitted his nerves were also calmed by his actress playing partner.
“She was so nice and it was cool playing with her,” he said of Jones-Gretzky. “It was fun to compete with her. It was great playing with someone so famous because I got to fly under the radar while she was getting all of the attention from the television cameras and fans.”
Homa, meantime, was weaving his way around the hilly terrain unaware he was in the lead until he noticed a scoreboard at the 17th hole. He stepped to the tee at the 491-yard closing hole knowing a par-4 would probably mean nothing worse than a spot in a playoff.
“I hit a good 3-wood out there but left myself 200 to the pin,” he said. “I wanted to hit 6-iron but my caddie wanted me to hit 5 and cut it. I trust him so that’s what I did.”
Homa’s second wound up pin-high and he was facing a slick, downhill 35-footer.
“I had the fastest putt I’ve ever had,” he said. “When you’re nervous like that your hands are like jello. I knew it was going to be fast and it would have gone a good six feet if it got past the hole. It was nice to cozy it up there to about a foot, but it still felt like six feet to me.”
One or six, it didn’t matter how many feet as Homa dropped the putt and then picked up the trophy.
Max Homa is triumphant at BMW Charity Pro-Am
• Sunday weather: Mostly cloudy with rain showers in the morning. Rainfall 0.10”. Wind NE 3-8 mph. High of 62.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the fourth round, as they were for the first three rounds.
• This is the second straight tournament to have all four rounds played under lift, clean and place conditions. The South Georgia Classic two weeks ago was also played under similar conditions.
• Max Homa earned his first career win in his sixth career start and fifth this year. In four previous starts this year he made three cuts and had one top-10: T51 - Panama Claro Championship, T47 - Chitimacha Louisiana Open, M/C - Mexico Open, 7 - South Georgia Classic, 1st - BMW Charity Pro-Am.
• Picked up a check for $117,000 to increase his season total to $142,155
• Wins at the age of 23 years, 6 months
• Earns the seventh win in nine Tour tournaments for players in their 20s
• Becomes the seventh first-time winner on Tour this year
• Becomes the third rookie to win on Tour this year – Jon Curran, Carlos Ortiz
• Becomes the first player to win the BMW Charity Pro-Am on his first try since Steve Gotsche won a rain-shortened event in 1999.
• Becomes the eighth player in tournament history to make this event their first career win. The last to do it was Mark Anderson in 2013.
OTHER PLAYER/TOURNAMENT NOTES:
• Jonathan Randolph’s runner-up effort is his third top-3 finish of the season. The rookie from Ole Miss collected $70,200 and moved up four spots to No. 7 on the money list and probably secured his status on the PGA TOUR next year.
• Blayne Barber, winner of the South Georgia Classic two weeks ago, pocketed $33,800 for his T3 effort and inched up one spot to No. 5 on the money list.
• Jon Curran, a winner at the Brasil Champions earlier, also finished T3 and moved up one place to No. 4 on the money list.
• Zach Sucher’s solo sixth place finish was his second top-10 of the season and helped him jump to spots on the money list to No. 20.
• Brazil’s Alex Rocha teamed with Adam Bryant to win the amateur portion of the pro-am event. The pair finished 43-under par and second overall to the team of Adam Hadwin and celebrity Wayne Gretzky.
NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour will head to the Raleigh, NC area for the Rex Hospital Open at TPC Wakefield Plantation May 18-24. Last year, local favorite Chesson Hadley fired a 7-under 64 in the rain-delayed final round and earned his first career win with a two-shot victory over Danny Lee. Hadley didn’t take the lead until he knocked a wedge shot to within inches for a tap-in birdie and a 19-under total. Hadley’s story was highlighted by the fact that he was born at Rex Hospital.